CHAPTER 3Understanding Underrepresented Job Seekers

If we want to increase diversity in our organizations, we first have to be intentional about how we define diversity itself.

How we see people—and how we approach them—is rooted in the way we talk about them. The language we use matters, and when we paint diversity itself in broad strokes, we miss the important distinctions and challenges of each community we are trying to hire. According to the Harvard Business Review, many leaders misuse the term “diverse” as a shorthand for underrepresented populations. “But lumping a wide range of people into the category of ‘diverse’ erases the racial, gender, and disability characteristics leaders want to value,” it says.

Going deeper than the broad strokes that have often painted diversity comes down to developing a deeper understanding of the different communities that are underrepresented in our workforce. Rather than lump these communities together and generalize, we have the chance as leaders to educate ourselves on each underrepresented group, the challenges they face, and how we can better hire and support each.

To paint the picture of the cross-section of underrepresented communities from which we can hire, we have profiled 12 groups in this chapter. Our work here is not to imply that this is an exhaustive list of all underrepresented job seekers, but rather a starting point. We chose groups that we found faced marginalization or a lack of representation in the workforce, or ...

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